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Species News from the Field

  • Capacity building highlights in 2015

    From 11th to 14th of August, Raphali Andriantsimanarilafy, reptiles lead researcher at Madagasikara Voakajy, followed a training Distance Sampling at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. The main objective of this training is to help researchers in the world working on population assessment to have a good knowledge on how to use and how work Distance software. Distance sampling is one method using point or line transect for collecting data in the field. Many researchers from different country or institutions working on different taxa attended this workshop. The training was given by the experts on Distance Sampling from the University of St Andrews. Back in Madagascar, he used (and will continue to use) his newly learned skills to analyse our existing data, and design future research on reptiles and other species within our organization. 


  • Herps team surveying the population structure, microhabitat and activities of Mantella cowanii

                    Mantella cowanii is classified as Endangered by the IUCN red list of threatened species due to its very restricted area of occupancy to a few sites. In addition to that, the species is mainly threatened by the habitat loss. The conservation efforts through the Action Plan Mantella cowanii (APMC) seem to be positive for the species has been down listed from Critically Endangered to Endangered in 2014.

  • Calumma tarzan


    Calumma tarzan, or Tarzan’s chameleon, was discovered in 2009 in the Anosibe An’Ala district.Subsequent research shows that this species is endemic to the district, where it is only know from three small forest fragments: near the village Tarzanville, Ambatofotsy forest and Ampotaka forest.


More News from the Field >>

New Publications

  • file iconThe supply of illegal tortoise meat to Toliara City, south-western Madagascar

    A range of endemic and protected vertebrate species from Madagascar are threatened by the demand for bushmeat. We report on the number of discarded carapaces from illegally killed Critically Endangered radiated tortoises Astrochelys radiata in an urban centre in south-west Madagascar. 

  • file iconHabitat use by the endemic Malagasy bat Hipposideros commersoni in a littoral forest

    We investigated habitat use by the endemic Malagasy bat Hipposideros commersoni in evergreen littoral rainforest during the wet season in 2006, in order to better inform conservation guidelines. We used radiotracking to locate roosting and foraging sites.

  • file iconBat News Winter 2015

    This winter in the UK (summer in Madagascar), the Bat News of Bat Conservation Trust features the Bats of Madagascar. Read the full article here (icon Bat News Winter 2015).

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(and publication request form)
Madagascar Rousette (Rousettus madagascariensis)


Rousettus madagascariensis is Madagascar’s smallest fruit bat and certainly the least studied so far. Because of its small size it is the only Malagasy fruit bat that can flying inside forest and thus potentially plays an important role in seed dispersal and pollination. It uses caves during the day in colonies can number thousand of individuals. These bats are eaten by people and are subject to severe hunting pressure.


We have a dual approach to conserving this species, based around human-bat interactions and forest conservation.

This bat is hunted by people inside caves where both the disturbance from people and loss of bats is likely to have negative consequences.  To better understand this issue we have a project in Anosibe An'ala that is studying the movement of individual bats between different cave roosts. This will allow us to better understand how often, when and why the bats move between caves and will help us to predict the consequence of sustained hunting. This project is linked to our bushmeat and we aim to use results from our scientific research to support these other initiatives.

Another interaction between this bat species and people is when the bats feed on cash fruit crops, such as lychee (litchi). We have studied this for two years and found major regional differences in the extent to which this bat inflicts serious damage to fruit, and peolples' livelihoods. In fact, the other two larger species of fruit bat are more likely to cause problems for fruit tree owners. 

The second approach is to develop conservation measures with local communities around cave roosts. In this sense, the bats are not necessarily the focus of the conservation because the main emphasis is on reducing deforestation. We then integrate measures to conserve the roosting bats in the community management plans. This approach is implemented by our community conservation team.

More information

Some results of our studies about this bat species can be found here:

Microsatellite marker loci in the Madagascar rousette 

Rousettus madagascariensis feeding on Dimnocarpus longan